VOCATION St. Benedict sums up the entire vocation of a monk with two simple words, Seeking God. According to the father of Western monasticism, a monk must also love the Divine Office, the virtue of obedience, and also be willing to accept trials and humiliations. These four characteristics make up the essential signs of a monastic vocation, which are encompassed in the three vows every monk professes: Obedience, Stability and Conversion of Life.
DISCERNMENT PROGRAMS Discernment is the process of prayerfully applying the objective criteria for a monastic vocation to the internal inspirations one receives from God. To follow God’s will is the call of all Christians; to seek God above all else, above even himself, that is the vocation of a monk.
STEPS OF FORMATION A consecration to God once made should not be broken. The monastery provides a long process of formation to purify motives and move the soul towards God. A period of observation of monastic life for 3 months and a postulancy of 9 months precede a one-year novitiate. Then a simple profession of three years is made before solemn profession, which is the monk’s total consecration.
PRIESTHOOD Some monks are also called to the priesthood, to assist the Abbot in his paternal care of the monks, to act as Alter Christus in the Liturgical Sacrifice of the Mass, or to assist in the pastoral activities of the monastery.
NORCIA BEFORE 1810 A pre-Roman town whose medieval walls embrace the 1st century Basilica where twin saints, Benedict and Scholastica, were born in the year of our Lord, 480. Monks have cared for the Basilica built over their birthplace since the 10th century.
NORCIA AFTER 1810 In 1810, the Celestine Congregation of the Benedictine order was suppressed under Napoleon. The monastery was closed, the Basilica passed into the hands to the diocese, and the monastic buildings were sold off to private families. Since the loss of the monks, the town of Norcia grew less in fame for their saints and more for their culinary delights- truffles, wild boar, and pecorino cheese.
NORCIA AFTER 2000 A fledgling community founded in 1998, in Rome, by Fr. Cassian Folsom, O.S.B., sought a monastery. The town of Norcia -absent of monks for nearly 200 years- longed for their return. In 2000, these two seemingly impossible desires met and God's Providence brought the return of Benedictine life to the birthplace of St. Benedict.
PRAYER The full Divine Office as described by the Rule of St. Benedict gives
the heartbeat to the prayer life of the monks. The Jesus Prayer, the
Rosary, Eucharistic Adoration and Lectio Divina all act as complements
and give spiritual nourishment to the daily round of Mass and Offices.
OBSERVANCE St. Benedict's fast, with one meal a day, from September through Easter,
chanting of the Office beginning at 4:00 AM (3:45 on Sundays and Feasts), the observance of silence, and abstinence from meat, all make up the more noticeable aspects of the observance. All of these are but tools, however, for achieving the true goal: Purity of Heart.
MONKS An international community with a median age of 36, the monks come from all walks life. This brotherhood unites one to another not by bonds of blood, talents or even ideas, but by their common search for God.
"To their fellow monks they show the pure love of brothers, to God, loving fear:
to their abbot, unfeigned and humble love. Let them prefer nothing whatever
to Christ, and may He bring us all together to everlasting life”. RB 72
INSPIRATION The restoration of man through the worship of God, in common life as described by the founder of Western monasticism, St. Benedict, whose birthplace rests under the Basilica in Norcia.
LITURGICAL LIFE Fostering the "interior reconciliation in the heart of the Church" (PP Benedict XVI) through the careful celebration of the liturgy, "in utroque usu", in both the Ordinary and Extraordinary forms of the Roman Rite.
BREWERY Founded in 2012, Birra Nursia offers a beer pleasing to the tastes, and satisfying to the spirit. With the two-fold goal of self sufficiency and evangelization to the mind, the blond and dark beers - made only by the monks within the ancient walls of the monastery - have gained admirers from distant lands, and have attracted new visitors to Norcia.
GIFT SHOP Opened in 2001, Corvus et Columba, or the raven and the dove (the symbols of the twin saints) offers a selection of the finest products available made exclusively by the monks and nuns in Europe, religious articles and books for neophytes and experienced alike, and most recently Birra Nursia. See the brewery page for details.
LIBRARY Blessed by then Cardinal Ratzinger in 2003, the library of the monks, once destroyed by Napoleon's soldiers, has now with the help of an American oblate and professional librarian, gradually built a collection of books and articles which nourish the mind, and delight the soul.
GUESTHOUSE St. Benedict's simple but careful axiom that all guests be received as Christ takes shape in Norcia in a number of ways. Men wishing to make retreats may stay at the small monastery guesthouse and may contact the guestmaster. Other visitors can make arrangements directly with several religious houses and hotels which Norcia offers. See the "Visit the Guesthouse" page for more information.
FUORI LE MURA Purchased in 2008, San Benedetto FLM (“Fuori le Mura” or the Outside the Walls) is a 16th-century Capuchin monastery, presently in ruins. With the help of grants from the Region and generous donations, the monks have begun to transform the building into a farm and hermitage.
PARISH ASSISTANCE St. Gregory the Great explains that St. Benedict responded to the needs of the church of Subiaco and Monte Cassino, counseling nuns, leading the sick, providing food for the poor. In that spirit, the monks of Norcia offer their help to the local parish each Sunday, and to the Benedictine and Poor Clare nuns nearby.